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Would you like a self-driving car?

Self-driving cars enabling drivers to take their eyes off the road and their hands off the wheel could be permitted on UK motorways later this year

The Department for Transport (DfT) announced it will allow hands-free driving in vehicles with lane-keeping technology on motorways with slow traffic, at speeds of up to 37mph.

It has set out how a vehicle with an automated lane keeping system (ALKS) could legally be used by a driver not paying attention, as long as there is no evidence to “challenge the ability” of it to be used autonomously.

ALKS enables a motorist to hand over control to their vehicle, although they must be available to resume the driving task. It is designed to constantly monitor speed and keep a safe distance from other road users, normally through the use of cameras and sensors.

The DfT describes ALKS as “traffic jam chauffeur technology”.

In the event the system detects an “imminent collision risk”, it will carry out an “emergency manoeuvre” which could involve braking or a change of direction.  The DfT claimed the technology could boost road safety as human error “contributes to over 85% of accidents”.

A consultation has been launched on updates to the Highway Code to ensure autonomous systems are used safely and responsibly.

Transport minister Rachel Maclean said: “This is a major step for the safe use of self-driving vehicles in the UK, making future journeys greener, easier and more reliable while also helping the nation to build back better.

“But we must ensure that this exciting new tech is deployed safely, which is why we are consulting on what the rules to enable this should look like.

“In doing so, we can improve transport for all, securing the UK’s place as a global science superpower.”

Jim Holder, editorial director of magazine and website What Car?, said the new policy is a “sensible first step” towards autonomous driving.

“These are very, very controlled circumstances, low speed, relatively straight roads, clear road markings.  In theory, this should be a very effective way of using the technology to good effect.”

He said the UK is in a “global competition” to develop the technology.  The announcement “gets us back in the race” as the UK is “a bit behind” the US and China, Mr Holder added.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said humans are “invariably the weak link” when it comes to driving safely, but he warned there are “challenges” when journeys involve a transfer of control between technology and the person behind the wheel.

“There is a risk of situations in which drivers over-rely on the automated system, expecting it to deal with events for which it is neither intended nor capable.

“And what happens when drivers are expected to take back control in an emergency? Research for us shows that it can take drivers several seconds to regain command of their vehicle.”

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “Technologies such as automated lane keeping systems will pave the way for higher levels of automation in future.

“These advances will unleash Britain’s potential to be a world leader in the development and use of these technologies, creating essential jobs while ensuring our roads remain among the safest on the planet.”

But AA president Edmund King claimed “we shouldn’t be in race to take drivers’ hands off the wheel”.

He went on: “There are still gaps in how this technology detects and stops if the vehicle is involved in a collision.  There are still question marks over how drivers will be fully informed about how these systems work.  More needs to be done to rigorously test these systems before they are used on UK roads.”

Do you have concerns over self-driving cars or do you believe that autonomous driving is the future? Would you be happy with a self-driving car?

Would you like a self-driving car?

236 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

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viking
4th Jun 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
Interestingly, how will the public be able to fill in a proposal form for car insurance in the future. Name/s of drivers ?? How long been driving ?? Any previous convictions ?? etc etc ???
cehodgson
4th Jun 2021
0
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Wouldn’t trust it, technology can always go wrong
viking
29th May 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
It's moved on from there now !!!
There is a driverless BUS on trial as you read this.
So as not to cause alarm and panic amongst our readers, the name of the town in which this trial is running is being withheld, but a clue is somewhere in East Anglia !!
Darkstar
25th May 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
They need to work out, who will be at fault if there is an accident. You can't blame the driver. He may be in the back reading a paper .
Dani
22nd May 2021
0
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No, but I’d love a chauffeur
SueC62
21st May 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
If I don't want to drive, I take the bus or train. I enjoy driving and think the skill and attention needed helps to keep my brain active. I wouldn'thave an automatic, either. I have given up my motorbike, initially it was because I was having occasional labrynthitis attacks but then decided, it was better for the long term health of my knees.
Karanight
15th May 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
I would in a flash. Since the turn of the century there's been on average 27.330 serious injures on British roads per year and almost 2500 deaths per year. I believe that those figures will go down if we don't have maniacs at the wheel. I'm not saying that computers running the cars will be infallible but if we can reduce the serious injuries and deaths on the roads, we should. The sooner that driverless cars are mandatory, the better
NDW57
11th May 2021
2
Thanks for voting!
You must be joking ! How could we possibly trust these self-driving cars? Essentially you would have a computer making potentially life and death decisions based on input from sensors and the machinations of some software or other. Sensors break (or get covered in goodness knows what), software gets malware/crashes and hardware breaks. Far too many possibilities for error. At the very least there should be a rapidly accessed manual over-ride (Don't you want to hit that tree? Y/N; Are you sure? Y/N; Are you really, really BANG !!!! ). Preferably the computer systems should be there as an aid - period !
jason49mac
7th May 2021
2
Thanks for voting!
Why? To encourage drunks to "not" get behind the wheel.

One of the best feelings a teenager can have is when they get the slip "passed". - Car or Motorbike - having shown the skill to ride and understand the road signs.

Surely there must be a similar test for "driverless" vehicles, knowing if it is not driving safely, what to do in an emergency

They would also require a specific lane for them to travel in, NOT the hard shoulder.
AlisonP24
7th May 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
I want to be in control of my car and not leave it to systems which have the capacity to malfunction (not that I don't malfunction occasionally!)
RogerO
7th May 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
At the moment the "e" world, Broadband , WiFi etc are snowed under with scammers, if the government
cannot stop this how are they going to stop someone electronically taking over a car and deliberately causing crashes?
viking
7th May 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
Will this mean that the upper age limit for drivers will be raised to 100 ???

This might work out cheaper than taxis every where for Silversurfers.
Billythequiche
7th May 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
Fills me with dread. Couple self-driving cars and "smart" motor ways and you have a recipe for disaster. I live close to a stretch of "smart" motorway that is notorious for fatalities. I am afraid that I have developed a habit of not using the inside lane of these roads unless conditions and visibility is perfect.
AdrianD9
5th May 2021
3
Thanks for voting!
I think current technology could be used to a better end. If people don't like driving, let them take the bus or a taxi, it would also be cheaper as well.
jason49mac
7th May 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
Now that would be a novel idea.
Less private and more public.
JennyW2
4th May 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
People are getting lazy enough. If they need to take control their reactions will be way too slow
anubis
4th May 2021
2
Thanks for voting!
Personally I don`t trust technology that allows you to lose concentration and let go of the wheel, glancing away while in the car if you need to regain control that adds to the response time to a danger. Also if the system breaks down or has a glich I like to be in control of my car.
jason49mac
7th May 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
Agreed.
People are less mentally aware or responsive to real life actions, due to Mobiles/Tablet/headwear.

The only benefit possibly would be that they could keep their eyes on their mobile and let someone else do the driving. OOps that's a taxi
JohnP139
4th May 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
I would rather get in the car with Stevie Wonder behind the wheel than let one of these take control.
jason49mac
7th May 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
I don't quite think his sonar is that adept, but I take your point
Ariadne
4th May 2021
2
Thanks for voting!
Could this also qualify as "Driving by the seat of your pants ?"
What is the point ? How can a CAR know that you would like to turn left ,,now ,,! Will it know when you Drop Off with boredom ? Will it know that the tank is getting Low ? and pull in at the next petrol station ?and NO . I don't want an electric car either .
Ariadne
4th May 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
This came on by a self server ,not me ,
Hazbeck48
4th May 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
After all the reported accidents from other countries, nothing will ever convince me that driverless cars are safe!
Phian
4th May 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
I'm not ready for this technology yet and don't expect that to change.
If something occurs to make the car take evasive action, it could cause more danger depending on how wide an area the sensors can read.
I am by no means a Luddite but will let others try it first.
Janeet
4th May 2021
2
Thanks for voting!
I’m too much of a control freak to hand over my car controls. I have enough problems as a passenger with imaginary brakes.
Baillieston
1st May 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
I fear that some people will not take the care and attention required and take their eyes off the road to maybe have a drink of water or similar and be too reliant on the car doing it all
Sue Greenhill
30th Apr 2021
5
Thanks for voting!
don't fancy self drive .. but would love it to be self parking though!!!
Lionel
30th Apr 2021
4
Thanks for voting!
I believe we should all be concerned with the impetus to de-skill people. Driverless cars, if brought into general use, would de-skill a major segment of the population.

Not so long ago checkout operators needed to read - not so now. Motor mechanics needed to diagnose and repair cars - now they are fitters of new components. Doctors were required to have a wide knowledge of human ailments but now they use Isobel online.

I suppose my point is, what role will we have in life if we're all de-skilled and will life be truly worth living?
viking
1st May 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
Hello Lionel
It will allow mischief makers and trouble makers more time to hatch eye watering pieces of dis-information.
Lionel
1st May 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
There's a good deal of truth in that Viking.
Billythequiche
7th May 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
Can't see it replacing shepherds.
Lionel
7th May 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
Now that would be comedy! Sheep are the most stupid of mammals but a flock of 500 would run rings round one of those things.

Come to think of it, lame as I am, I'd probably do the same.
ecarg
30th Apr 2021
4
Thanks for voting!
I'm confused what is the advantage of hands free if you have to be constantly aware and ready to take over in an emergency situation,I would prefer to keep my hands on the steering wheel.
Lionel
29th Apr 2021
4
Thanks for voting!
Oh no, I would want a self driving car. As yet the technology is unsafe and since I've no desire to be a human guinea pig or make a sacrifice on the altar of high tech I'll keep my trusty old diesel.

Before anyone complains about another dirty diesel, it's emissions are at the very lowest in it's class.
jeffsoo
29th Apr 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
When the tecnology is perfecteted
MrsPat
28th Apr 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
I would love to. I hate driving at the best of times especially in traffic!
jason49mac
7th May 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
Use public transport or taxi
Wilf
28th Apr 2021
4
Thanks for voting!
Yes on long motorway journeys (which we do not do anymore) No on local journeys
viking
29th Apr 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
Agree Wilf, some of the motorways are so looooong, and booring.
Realise that the headline is meant to be dramatic, but driverless vehicles have been in use for a number of years now in warehouses and factories. So presumambly the boffins have been able to modify this tech knowledge for road use.
Hope they get it right !!!
Wilf
29th Apr 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
Yes you are right Viking and I had not thought of that-robots have been used for years in factories and in fact the Light Railway I think its called in east London is driverless and thousands of people use that daily!
jason49mac
7th May 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
With factories they use grids of sensors and are restricted to usually 5mp.
DLR - yes but is on fixed rails, also speed limited and remotely monitored by a driver.

Neither has to account for the dumb driver in a vehicle that currently causes so many accidents.

My pop always said "It only takes one other idiot" and until everything is driverless that will always apply.

You also have to think about cars over the last 50 years, the safest have always cost the most.

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